It’s so easy to eat well in summer! I get inspired every time I walk through a farmer’s market or even the produce section of the supermarket. There are so many stone fruits and melons available and right now they are at their peak. You just can’t go wrong creating desserts and salads from fruits like peaches, nectarines, apricots and the new pluots and apriums, which are hybrids created by crossing plums and apricots.
In addition to the delicious taste there are plenty of health benefits from eating stone fruits. For instance:
- As a collagen booster: A cup of sliced apricots or plums has about one quarter of your daily vitamin C needs. Vitamin C helps the body form collagen—the main protein in connective tissue—bones, cartilage, muscle and blood vessels. It also helps to increase iron absorption.
- To improve nerves and muscle function: Bananas aren’t the only game in town when it comes to potassium, which is essential for good nerve and muscle function. Two small peaches—a total of about 102 calories– have more of this essential mineral than a medium banana at 105 calories.
- To sharpen eyesight: The vibrant orange color of apricots and peaches is because of their carotenoids, which are powerful antioxidants and best utilized when the fruit is cooked. The beta-carotene they contain converts to vitamin A to help maintain eyesight, skin membranes and immune function. To maximize their FoodTrient properties, try putting fresh apricots on the grill or BBQ.
- As a bone builder: Two plums contain about one tenth of your daily vitamin K, which is essential to building strong bones, preventing heart disease, and crucial to other bodily processes. Research indicates that low levels of vitamin K are associated with an increased incidence of osteoarthritis in hands and knees.
- For regularity: To receive the full benefit of the fiber in peaches, nectarines and other stone fruits, don’t peel them. The skin provides insoluble fiber that helps keep you full, satisfied and helps prevent constipation.
Plain fresh fruit in season is wonderful for a side dish or dessert, but sometimes you just have to have something fabulous! My delicious stuffed peaches take cut fruit to a new level. You can find this recipe and so many more age-defying dishes in my new cookbook, The AGE BEAUTIFULLY Cookbook.
Stuffed Peaches Recipe
Serves 4 to 8
4 ripe peaches
1/2 cup almonds (can be roasted but not salted)
1/2 cup cashews (can be roasted but not salted)
1 cup shredded coconut
2-3 Tbsp. honey (can use maple syrup to make this a vegan recipe)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup toasted coconut (as a garnish)
1. Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits.
2. With a melon baller, scoop out about a tablespoon of peach flesh from the center of each peach. You will have a hole about twice the size of the one left from the pit.
3. Cover the peaches with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
4. Put the peach pulp into a food processor with the remaining ingredients (except for garnish). Process for a few seconds until you get a chunky, uniform mixture.
5. Freeze the mixture for 1-2 hours.
6. With a melon baller, scoop out a ball of stuffing and use it to fill the hole of a peach half. Repeat for the remaining 7 halves. Garnish with toasted coconut.
NOTE: If preferred, you can quickly grill the peach halves before stuffing them. If your peaches aren’t perfectly ripe, grilling them will bring out their sugars and soften their fibers. Just brush the cut sides with melted coconut oil and grill over high heat for 2-3 minutes.